Sometimes while walking around the forest at night I feel like something is watching me, and at any moment it’s pretty much guaranteed that there are a pair of eyes transfixed on me. In this case the eyes belonged to a tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides), a silver nocturnal bird reminiscent of “Coo,” the plump bird that rock Kirby takes the form of in Kirby: The Crystal Shards.
The tawny frogmouth occurs throughout Australia and Tasmania, escaping detection during the day due to its remarkable trunk-like camouflage. With closed eyes and stretching their body outward at an angle, their crypsis rivals if not surpasses that of any other terrestrial animal I can think of. Although they may look like owls at first glance, frogmouths are more closely related to nightjars and lack the powerful talons. I often hear them calling from above with a low repetitive “ooo” sound, and occasionally I spot one glaring down at the forest floor in search of prey.
Every time I took a step forward this tawny frogmouth glared at me, making sure I was not a mouse rustling through the leaves. Unlike the barn and barking owls here, tawny frogmouths let me get very close to them, even just two meters away if I approach quietly. The edges of their wings are small and shaped in a way that allows for silent flight. Sometimes in the few seconds that I glance away they seem to vanish into thin air.
All three frogmouths in this post photographed in situ  before they fled